Sidsel Meineche Hansen: HOOK NO 10. & Christelle Oyiri: VENOM VOYAGE
Sidsel Meineche Hansen: HOOK NO 10.
Chimney, fireplace, bedroom, sliding door, double hook; brickwork, burnished wood, cast metal: the sculptures in Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s exhibition HOOK NO 10. lays the groundwork for an intricate web of associations connected to labor, specifically the dependencies between artisanal, industrial, biological and social reproduction and the bodies behind it.
The video work Baby Jesus (2023) presents an extraordinary case of the entanglement between property, the self, and survival. Hansen, in collaboration with Therese Henningsen, portrays four nuns from the congregation of the Little Sisters of Jesus who live together in a tower block in Hoxton, London and a shared house in Walsingham, a Catholic pilgrimage village in the UK. By taking “The Cross” and the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the nuns renounce ownership and their feelings of possessiveness too. “The vow of chastity, which means I don’t have a partner, don’t have children, it’s something costly (…) you feel that lack acutely. And I’m not going to say that God comes and fills it.” Led by their Catholic belief and their relationship to God, their self-concept is based on spreading the Gospel though low-paid service jobs and on living in community. In this way they align themselves to outsiders and practice, in a sense, a counter-culture to that of today’s aspirational homeowners. Handcraft here too features prominently – one of the nuns makes baby Jesuses in clay from dozens of plaster molds in different sizes, literally filling the void by reproducing the message of the Church with multiple baby objects.
The exhibition is developed in partnership with Four Boxes. Krabbesholm, Danish Folk High School for Art, Architecture, Design and Visual Communication.
Christelle Oyiri: VENOM VOYAGE
In VENOM VOYAGE, an immersive installation reminiscent of a travel agency, we are lured by familiar images of adventure, fun, relaxation, only to be confronted with the clash between the reality of toxic, colonized landscapes and our distorted imaginary of them. For her show at gta exhibitions, ETH Zurich, Christelle Oyiri explores themes of colonial alienation. A newly produced group of works highlights the discrepancy between the image of Guadeloupe and Martinique as idyllic holiday destinations and the reality the two islands face today – the contamination of their soil and water due to pesticides used in farming, leading to severe health issues, most notably cancer.
The artist approaches the subject through the lens of her own personal involvement: childhood memories of happy holidays in her native country embroiled with what she faces returning as an adult today. Oyiri’s position is ambivalent; the visual memories of her and her family travelling are also rooted in pride. A testimony of togetherness, trans-classness – of a working-class black family putting their yearly savings into the prospect of experiencing rest, internal peace and (self-)discovery. Guadeloupe and Martinique were once marketed as ‘paradise’ islands yet their soils are acutely contaminated by a fertilizer called Chlordecone. Banned in the US and in Europe in the 1970s, France, who still has colonial authority over these islands, never banned it here in its overseas territory. It has been estimated that the lifespan of the Chlordecone pollution in the soil in the French West Indies will last for more than six centuries.
About Elevation 1049
Elevation 1049 first launched in 2014 and is named after the geological coordinates of Gstaad (1049). This project, produced by the Luma Foundation, features in situ works created out of the specifics of time and place and is comprised of works by international artists. Most of the pieces are displayed, activated, or performed in outdoor settings in the Saanenland region, in and around Gstaad, with the aim to revive dialogue between the creative community and the region.
About gta exhibitions, ETH Zurich
gta exhibitions is part of the Institute of History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich. The exhibition program serves as an interface between theory and practice, showcasing research and teaching in the Department of Architecture.